Ahead of July 2019, when nominations will open for several positions on the Nutrition Society's Board of Trustees and Advisory Council, the Society spoke to Dr Frank Thies, Honorary Science Officer, to find out more about his experience as a Society Trustee. Before taking up his current position, Dr Thies was the Society's Honorary Officer without Portfolio. This position will be available for nomination again this year, and is aimed at mid-career nutrition science professionals.

When did you first become involved with The Nutrition Society?

I have been a member of the Society for over 16 years. However, it was more recently that I developed an interest in getting involved in the Society’s activities. I regret not having been involved sooner considering how rewarding my experience has been so far.

I started off as a member of the Scottish Section committee in 2010, and then went on to Chair the Scottish Section from 2012 to 2015. This gave me the opportunity to organise scientific meetings, as well as to join the Science Committee and the Advisory Council of the Nutrition Society. These allowed me to gain further understanding of the Society’s organisational set-up, interact with the Trustees, committee members, and the Society’s staff to actively contribute to the Society’s activities with the aim of supporting and promoting evidence based science. Four years ago, I joined the Board of Trustees as the Honorary Officer without portfolio.

How would you describe the role of Honorary Officer without portfolio?

This Trustee position is ideal for someone interested in contributing to the development of the Society, without having to take on the responsibility of a specific portfolio. It represented a unique opportunity for me to learn about charity governance, and to actively contribute to defining the strategic direction of the Society and oversee its enriching and diverse activities. A Trustee can attend and contribute to any committee, which I found invaluable for learning more about the Society’s activities related to nutritional science, training and education, publishing, international affairs, and communication.

What else have you gained from your roles on the Board of Trustees?

I am particularly involved with the Strategic Communication Committee, and I thoroughly enjoy the collegiate environment and fruitful interactions with all of the committees’ members.

As a Trustee, I also have had the opportunity to attend many of the Society’s conferences and chair sessions. These have been pivotal for expanding my collaboration network and improving my knowledge and understanding of nutritional science. Taking on a Trustee position in a prestigious learned society such as the Nutrition Society definitely contributes to career development within one’s workplace and the wider professional field.  

Would you recommend standing for an elected position?

For all of these reasons, I would highly recommend anyone interested in actively contributing towards the Society’s development and activities to join our Board of Trustees, and the position of Honorary Officer without portfolio represents an excellent opportunity to get involved.